Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies

Staff Profile

Louise Kempton

Senior Research Associate


I am a Senior Research Associate based in  based in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS). My current work is focused on contributing through research and policy development to the shaping of an evolving recognition of the role of universities as ‘anchor’ institutions in local/regional economic growth and innovation.

I am currently acting (60% fte) as programme manager to the Newcastle City Futures (ULP) project led by Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones.  More information about the project is available here.


The Civic University – The Policy and Leadership Challenges

In November 2015 the CUSP project will publish an edited volume of case studies titled The Civic University – The Policy and Leadership Challenges. It will provide a framework for institutional change and development to guide universities in strengthening their engagement with civil society followed by a collection of 8 case studies of universities from North and Western Europe, each of which have begun to re-invent themselves as civic institutions and/or are in the process of enhancing their civic engagement across a broad front which embraces teaching and research. 

In the context of a wide ranging debate about the role and purpose of publically funded higher education institutions, the book addresses the leadership and management challenges of maximising the contribution of universities to civil society locally and globally. It does this by:

  • Developing a model of the civic university as an academic concept
  • Drawing out practical lessons for university management on how to embed civic engagement in the academic heartland
  • Comparing experiences and reporting on a developmental process that eight institutions from four northern European countries participated in to develop their civic engagement activity

The participating universities are University College London and Newcastle University in the UK, Amsterdam and Groningen Universities in the Netherlands, Aalto and Tampere Universities in Finland and Trinity College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland.


Other research and consultancy projects


2015 (current/on going)


  • OECD - Measuring the impact entrepreneurial and innovative Higher Education Institutions in Ireland.
  • ESRC Impact Accelerator Account - Creating a 'user guide' to devolution and decentralisation for policy makers in England.
  • European Commission (FP7) - Exploring the underlying theoretical basis of the smart specialisation concept in different settings and to deepen our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
  • University of Warwick - Report to help inform the the Chancellor's Commission focused on contemporary 'civic university' good practice and leading edge thinking on University contributions to leadership and management of 'place'.
  • South Tyneside Council - Analysis of the current and future supply of and demand for skills in advanced manufacturing industries in Sunderland and South Tyneside.



2015 (completed)

  • OECD - Measuring the impact of the Luneburg University Innovation Incubator
  • Newcastle Science City – Baseline and evaluation study of Newcastle Science City’s new Enterprise to Business (E2B) project which aims to create and support high-growth businesses resulting from students and graduates enterprise activities.




  • European Commission (DG Education and Culture) – Development of a framework to measure the impact of university-business cooperation in terms of teaching, learning and human capital development, as a contribution to the on-going discourse on the role of universities in regional and national recovery and growth.
  • Local Government Association (LGA) – exploring the potential for building a case for enhanced devolution of local economic growth and development funding over the 2015-20 parliamentary term. 
  • Heart of the South West LEP - Analysis of Smart Specialisation opportunities across the Local Enterprise Partnership area to inform EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy.




  • Region Värmland, Sweden – Evaluation of the outputs, results and impacts of the cooperation agreement between Region Värmland and Karlstad University and recommendations for future cooperative programmes.
  • North Eastern LEP – Analysis of Smart Specialisation opportunities across the Local Enterprise Partnership area to inform EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy.
  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) - As part of the planning process for designing  EU Structural and Investment Fund  strategies for the programme period 2014-2020, advising BIS on the most appropriate functions and form(s) of a possible Platform for Support for Innovation in England. 
  • European Commission (Joint Research Centre IPTS Seville) – Development of a set of policy papers and case studies to raise awareness and cooperation between universities and regional authorities across Europe about the role of universities in regional innovation and how they can work together to overcome challenges and barriers.




  • European Commission (DG Regio) – Supporting the UK Government to incorporate the requirement for ‘smart specialisation’ in the development of the partnership agreement for structural funds 2014-2020.




  • European Commission (DG Regio) – Producing a guidebook to support public authorities across Europe to promote the active engagement of universities and other higher education institutions in European funded regional innovation and growth programmes.